CC Your Friends: Sabathia, Yankees Have Angels on Brink of Mailing Season In
The Yankees kept blowing opportunities to score.
In the first, Derek Jeter led off with a single, but was caught stealing.
In the second, the first two men reached, but again, New York couldn't get a hit with runners in scoring position.
In the third, Melky Cabrera used a bunt to get aboard, but the Yanks refused to utilize any more small ball to get him over and in.
And each time the Bombers failed to put a run across, the momentum shifted to the hometown Angels.
But not for long.
Every inning, CC Sabathia, working on three days rest, slowly sauntered out to the mound, and quickly retired the Anaheim batters.
Once his offense finally got him a lead, led once again by Alex Rodriguez, the big lefty just kept on mowing them down, until Game 4 was in the books with a 10-1 Yankees victory.
Here are the grades from Tuesday's blowout.
Joe Girardi, Manager: (B+) After a terrible job in Game 3, Girardi bounced back with a much more encouraging effort in Game 4. Having Sabathia as your starter helps, but on Tuesday, the manager improved his effort in getting the offense going.
He failed to bunt or hit-and-run with men on base in this game, but at least he had his guys stealing. The Yankees attempted four thefts and were successful on two of them.
Derek Jeter, SS: (A) Facing the pitcher against which he has the lowest average in his career (.111), the captain led off the game with a base hit off Scott Kazmir. He was then caught stealing, but later picked up another single and a walk.
Johnny Damon, LF: (B) Over his first four at-bats, Damon continued to struggle, swinging over curveball after curveball. He again whiffed on a breaking pitch to begin his at-bat against Matt Palmer in the eighth, but he didn't miss the second curve. Instead, Damon sent it into the right field seats for a two-run homer to put the game on ice.
Mark Teixeira, 1B: (C) Teixeira is still not right at the plate, going 1-for-5 with two strikeouts, but he scored a run and made a few nice plays at first base.
Alex Rodriguez, 3B: (A+) A-Rod is in a tight race with Sabathia for ALCS MVP. Right now, I'd give it to CC, but Rodriguez is making a strong case. He not only went 3-for-4 with a double and his third homer of the series, but he also jump-started the offense by aggressively scoring from third on a grounder to second in the fourth inning.
Jorge Posada, C: (A-) This was a weird game for Posada, who doubled, scored a run, walked twice, handled Sabathia well and even stole a base.
But the catcher also failed to score from second on a double by Robinson Cano, got caught in a run down on a grounder back to the mound, and forgot how many outs there were when the Yanks were in the field.
Posada will get some time to clear his mind as he won't be starting again until at least Saturday.
This grade summary was brought to you by DIRECTV.
Hideki Matsui, DH: (F) I guess the invitation to the party wasn't translated into Japanese. Godzilla went 0-for-5 with three Ks.
Robinson Cano, 2B: (B-) This was another guy with a roller coaster game. Cano doubled, walked, drove in a run and scored twice, but he also committed one of the dumbest baserunning plays you will ever see.
With Posada caught in that bonehead rundown between third and home, Cano headed toward third, but waited two feet off the bag as Posada returned to the same base.
The Angels defender tagged both Yankees while they were both off the bag for what should've been an inning-ending double play, but Tim Mcclelland, who was in the midst of the single worst game in the history of umpiring, called Cano safe.
Nick Swisher, RF: (C) Swisher was 0-for-2 with a walk, but he will be remembered in this game for what he did on the basepaths. On second in the fourth, the right fielder was picked off, except second-base umpire Dale Scott called him safe.
Later that inning, he appeared to score the Yanks' fourth run when he tagged up from third on Damon's fly ball, but was incorrectly called out on appeal for leaving too soon by McClelland, who wasn't even looking at the bag.
There will definitely be an umpiring shake-up this offseason, whether it be more instant replay or new umps.
Melky Cabrera, CF-RF: (A+) Lost in the dominating performances by Sabathia and A-Rod was Cabrera's outstanding four-RBI night. He bunted for a base hit to lead off the third and then delivered the biggest hit of the game, a two-run single in the fourth, to put the Yanks up, 3-0.
He drove in two more with a double in the ninth and also walked and scored a run. This is the type of production the team needs from the bottom of the order.
Brett Gardner, PR-CF: (C+) Gardner pinch ran for the second straight game, and for the second straight game, he was thrown out attempting to steal. However, he did single and score in his only at-bat.
This grade summary was brought to you by Black Taco from Taco Bell.
CC Sabathia, SP: (A+) The southpaw allowed just one run on five hits and two walks, while striking out five over eight stellar innings. He is now 2-0 with a 1.12 ERA in the ALCS.
Chad Gaudin, RP: (A) Girardi has now successfully gotten every pitcher on the roster into a game this series and so everyone will be receiving a snow cone from the snack bar.
Yankees Overall Grade: (A) After a devastating 11-inning loss in Game 3, the Yanks rebounded with a nearly perfect performance in Game 4.
I'm sure they'd like to get back out there and play Game 5 on Wednesday, but they'll have to wait until Thursday, when A.J. Burnett squares off against John Lackey in what will hopefully be New York's final game until the World Series.
Follow me on Twitter at JordanHarrison .
Jordan Schwartz is Bleacher Report's New York Yankees Community Leader. His book "Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man" is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and authorhouse.com.
Jordan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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